DEAR ABBY: I am a 65-year-old active woman who still works. I play tennis several times a week and have a loving relationship with my kids. I know with certainty that I have many good things in my life. However, since my sister died last year, I have been having second thoughts about a lot of the decisions I have made over the years, especially regarding relationships and my choice of jobs.
By JEANNE PHILLIPS
I realize now that more than a few of my decisions were based on low self-esteem, although I dont come across that way. Im feeling depressed and lonely, and its hard to be positive. I feel like my world is shrinking, and I dont know how to get back on track and be a positive and happy person again. As it is, Im faking it with my children, and my friends have no idea how I really feel. How do I improve my life at this late stage? Depressed in San Diego
DEAR DEPRESSED: One way would be to be more honest with your friends and fake it less. If they are good friends, theyll be willing to listen and give you an honest perspective or the benefit of their life experience. Thats what friends do for each other.
You are lucky to be vital and active, because it means your world doesnt have to shrink any more than you want it to. Because you say youre lonely, perhaps its time to consider enlarging your circle of acquaintances.
The loss of your sister is probably what started your re-evaluation of your life and choices, and thats normal. But please remember that regret is the cancer of life. You cant change the past, and you mustnt allow it to cloud your future. While you may be having second thoughts about choices you made when you were younger, the lessons you learned from them have made you the person you are today.
DEAR ABBY: I think our culture is severely lacking when we dont teach our children how to politely and non-aggressively stand up for themselves when the need arises. People suffer in all sorts of relationships work, family, friends because theyre afraid of confrontation. Raising a subject that may be embarrassing and risking angering someone isnt fun, but its COMMUNICATION.
If you have a problem, large or small, address it in private with the individual. And if someone tries to talk to you about something youd rather not hear, be an adult, listen and respond civilly instead of reacting childishly.
We teach children to respect authority, be kind to others and be leaders, but we dont teach them healthy confrontation, which is something we all encounter in our lives. Talking It Out in Indiana
DEAR TALKING IT OUT: I agree with you. The kind of communication youre describing is a skill. It requires not only a strong ego on the part of the confronter, but also tact and diplomacy. And the confrontee needs to have the ability to listen without responding with hostility to what is being said.
DEAR ABBY: In my university classroom, students place their feet on chairs, teachers lecture while sitting on their desks, and the dean of the school herself sits atop her desk and places her feet on a chair in front of her. Please tell me that this is NOT OK! Proper in Washington
DEAR PROPER: It appears you come from a generation or culture in which the atmosphere has always been quite formal. I can tell you its not OK if it will make you feel better, but if its acceptable to the teacher, the dean and the school, then its time for you to loosen up.
© Universal Uclick 8/27
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. Dear Abby runs Monday through Saturday.